Today’s consumers are increasingly powerful, and their time and attention is under constant demand. Faced with marketing tactics that demand attention without giving back, customers switch off, with rapidly increasing numbers choosing the “nuclear option” of installing ad blocking technology.
You might have read our plea for Return on Attention marketing (and our swearier, NSFW one, too!) to make marketing more enjoyable for today’s online consumer. We see Return on Attention as the only way to respect the needs of consumers and deliver marketing that truly resonates with them (and more importantly, doesn’t make them click the BLOCK FOREVER button!)
Sadly, there are still huge numbers of marketers who don’t appreciate the need to deliver value to their customers, and continue to deliver Pointless Marketing tactics and lazy advertising that demands attention without providing anything in return.
We’ve distilled the approaches most likely to disengage your customers into a shortlist of the most Pointless Marketing tactics of late.
Collecting the data…
These are all genuine examples of marketing tactics I’ve personally been exposed to over the past few months. Naturally, along the way there were a few good examples and a huge amount of mediocrity that didn’t inspire me either way, but I’ve picked out the stuff that particularly ticked me off.
It was actually reasonably difficult for me to collect these examples. Not because they weren’t there, but because I had to make a physical effort to override my learned tendency to ignore this kind of stuff.
This really highlighted how much noise instantly goes under my radar, and sums up how pointless this kind of advertising is more than anything else.
1. The “shameless plug… tee hee!”
What it’s really saying: “I know what I’m doing is both annoying and highly unlikely to work, but I’m going to do it anyway as I honestly have no better ideas. You’re cool with that, right?”
Why we hate it: The assumption that it’s okay to waste your customers’ time as long as you admit to doing it “shamelessly”. BONUS: this is advertising a social media lead gen platform, so I’ve a sneaking suspicion this is a live demo of their tool. Why on earth would I pay for somebody to outreach to potential customers on my behalf if this is how they handle their own marketing?
2. The “Twitter Product Feed”
What it’s really saying: “We need a Twitter account!” – “What for?” – “so people can buy our stuff on Twitter.” – “I don’t think that’s what Twitter’s for…” – “Just get on with it!”
Why we hate it: The perfect example of one-sided marketing. Faced with a golden opportunity to interact with, learn from and engage their audience in real-time, marketers choose to post product images with branded hashtags and links to their stores instead.
What a waste of potential!
3. The “Cookie-Cutter Blog”
What it’s really saying: “I guess we should really have a blog, shouldn’t we?”
Why we hate it: These types of blogs are FRUSTRATING, because somebody’s clearly put time and effort into writing posts that have no discernible purpose (at some point – these types of blogs regularly go six months without a new post). They gain no social shares, aren’t promoted on the main site and cover the same post topics as everybody else.
The really frustrating part is that the posts themselves are rarely anything objectionable – they’re often nicely written. There’s just not been any thought put into why anybody would want to read them, and what the benefit would be to either side…
4. The “Cool Dad” tactic
What it’s really saying: “Here’s our ad. It’s got that guy who does the voice-overs from Britain’s Got Talent on it, and it uses words like “awesome” and “epic”. And it’s got a hashtag! Please like me.”
Why we hate it: Lumping millions of diverse, unique individuals into one big group called “yoof” and then patronising them is not good marketing. Maybe appeal to your audience by understanding their needs and providing something useful, rather than trying to be down with the kids, eh?
There’s also, as visualised above by House of Fraser’s “Emojinal” social media campaign this week, the danger of backfiring and completely passing-by your target audience by trying too desperately to appeal to your aspirational one.
Just because it’s alleged that 76% of users aged 25-29 are frequent users of emojis, it doesn’t mean you have to base your entire campaign on them. Y’know?
5. The “buyer beware”
What it’s really saying: “Sign up for our newsletter, but don’t complain when you don’t like it, because you’ve specifically requested that we make your life a misery. What do you mean, what’s in it for you?”
Why we hate it: the underlying tone of this banner is that that you won’t like what’s going to happen if you enter your details. The addition of “which you have specifically requested” and the outright lack of any benefits to the customer whatsoever just scream “pointless”.
6. The “stop hitting yourself”
What it’s really saying: “Sign up for our amazing offer! Oh, you don’t want to? That’s fine. Just say “I’m a complete moron who wouldn’t know a good offer if it hit me in the face”, and I’ll not ask again. Go on. Say it.”
Why we hate it: How is a pop-up ad that will only allow me to close it if I denigrate myself an acceptable form of marketing? Strangely enough, ConversionXL, if that’s what you mean by Conversion Optimisation, then yes, I would prefer to suck at it.
7. The “foregone conclusion”
What it’s really saying: “We both know you don’t want to see this. You can skip it soon, let’s just wait together till it’s been long enough that we get our money out of the mug that’s paying for this”.
Why we hate it: Why would you want your ad featured here? If you need to physically restrict the audience from clicking off it, there’s something very wrong. Especially if the site selling the ad space is clearly aware of this and gives your audience a motivational quote to look at instead of the ad.
Tell us your Pointless Marketing tales!
The common denominator with all of these lame tactics really falls down to this: there are so many “trends you must be following” and digital advice that’s not fit for everyone that confuse marketers and lead them to frankly, try bloody anything to get you to buy their product or service.
For marketers, we believe the key is understanding WHICH of these “must-do” trends are for you, before your customers shut you up entirely. Check out this post on the 2016 digital trends you actually should be worrying about… (or not, as the case may be!)
But we’ll admit it. Calling out Pointless Marketing has been kinda therapeutic. We’d love you to share with us the crappy, lazy, intrusive marketing tactics you’ve been subjected to across social media, email and mobile. Head over to our Twitter feed and share using the hashtag #PointlessMarketing.
We’ll also be releasing our USEFUL CONTENT CHECKLIST over the coming days, so keep your eyes peeled for that, too! In the meantime, check out out post on Return on Attention HERE!